Growing peonies in valley not too tough

When I lived in Maryland, I loved growing tree peonies. I noticed they are listed in your nursery catalog. What special needs do they have in the Grand Valley?

— A reader

Tree peonies do surprisingly well here. The main requirement they have is that they be planted into good soil. Do a great job of amending the soil by mixing in a lot of low-salt decomposed organic matter such as Soil Pep, compost or peat moss.

We’ve often recommended that people plant tree peonies in partial shade, but they really will do well in a sunny exposure as long as the soil is good and they receive adequate water.

As for the watering, they’re not terribly drought-tolerant, doing fine with “regular garden watering.” Be a little careful about overwatering the plant. They will rot if the soil stays too soggy.

Finally, be sure to plant them a little on the high side. Set the top of the soil that’s in the pot that the peony comes in an inch or so higher than the surrounding ground level. Gently slope the soil away from the crown of the plant. Since you’ve had experience with tree peonies before, you probably know this, but keep in mind that they grow extremely slowly here.

Dennis Hill is the nursery manager at Bookcliff Gardens, Send questions to Bookcliff Gardens, 755 26 Road, Grand Junction 81506; or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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